Vanity in the Kremlin. Putin realized that he lost
The strategic situation in the Russia-USA pair has changed dramatically. The political will of one of the parties that realized the existential threat has changed
US presidents come and go, but the American “ deep state,” deep state, remains. Mike Pompeo’s recent Russian-Chinese underbelly voyage, which provoked anger and rage in Beijing and Moscow, was the introduction of these two wonderful cities to the new US foreign policy strategy, writes Andrei Piontkovsky for Radio Liberty.
February 20, 2014 (the date was treacherously knocked out on medals “ For the Conquest of Crimea”) the Russian President unleashed a world hybrid war against the West. Its purpose is revenge for the defeat of the USSR in the Cold War, namely:
the establishment of military-political control of Russia at least over the entire post-Soviet space, and, if possible, over Central Europe;
discrediting and destroying NATO as helpless and incapable of protecting its members;
at the end of the war, the consolidation and legitimization of its results by a new “ Yalta deal” with an isolated and humiliated USA
As an ideological banner of the war ( “Russian World”), Hitler’s concept of a disconnected people, the defense of compatriots, and the “restoration of historical justice” was studently borrowed. The military strategy of defeating the superior enemy in all respects was based on three constituent elements:
• the concept of General Valery Gerasimov of non-linear hybrid warfare, that is, betting on information terror, cyber terror and physical terror of irregular units ( “green men”);
• The doctrine of Nikolai Patrushev: Russia as a nuclear power, oriented towards changing the status quo and possessing the political will to such a change, can and should achieve radical foreign policy results by threat of use or, if necessary, by limited use of nuclear weapons;
• traditional for the rulers of Russia, contempt for the lives of their subjects: as Vladimir Putin noted, “for Russians, death is red for the world.”
In 2016, Putin launched a daring transatlantic operation to introduce a “ partner” into the White House , who was ideologically and personally matured for a “ big Yalta deal.” A group of Russian agents of influence, formed in Washington, plus the small pro-Kremlin crooks directly introduced into the leadership of the headquarters of the presidential candidate, energetically engaged in feeding the businessman who was ignorant of foreign policy issues. He was inspired with standard Kremlin memes — NATO’s obsolescence as a relic of the Cold War; the need to discard all petty disagreements with the Kremlin ( Ukraine, Baltic states) and focus on the joint fight against Islamic terrorism. The significance of Putin as a potential US ally in their confrontation with China was portrayed. We need Russians, we can’t get anywhere without these Russians, they repeated with all their voices.
As David Ignatius, one of the most perceptive American foreign policy experts, rightly remarked, “Trump … was quite consistent in his isolationist concept of America first, rejecting all the basic tenets that American diplomacy followed for decades, and, interestingly, repeated in his criticism almost word for word of Russian President Vladimir Putin. ” November 9, 2016 in Moscow did not hide their triumph. But the Kremlin did not completely understand one very important circumstance: to litter the brains of an inexperienced person in international relations and put him in a chair in the Oval Office is absolutely not enough to radically change American foreign policy. Because the United States is a developed political system with a multi-level system of checks and balances.
Resistance to Trump’s pro-Putin sentiments was evident from the very beginning, and his behavior towards Putin at their first meeting in Hamburg was the last straw for the US military and political establishment. The turning point for history was the annual security conference in Aspen on July 19-22, 2017. Almost all the leaders of the American power structures of both the former and Trump administrations traditionally took part in it in an informal personal capacity. The tone of this conference was set by a speech by the newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo. For the first time in three and a half years of the Kremlin’s hybrid military operations, two fundamental points have been made absolutely clear: a clear understanding of the goals, methods and tools of the war being waged by Putin and a firm determination to disrupt his far-reaching plans,
After some time, Pompeo took the key position of Secretary of State in Trump’s office. Pompeo took on the meaningful and multifaceted mission of “ watching” Trump from the deep state, the role of a wise uncle who approves of loyal foreign policy impulses ( China, Israel, Iran), and a caring nanny, cleaning up diplomatic misses. Pompeo painstakingly integrated the off-system president into the new doctrine of US national security being developed by the Pentagon and the Department of State, designed to adequately respond to two simultaneous challenges: the ambitions of the economic giant of China and the revanchistically complex Russia.
For the United States, indeed, it would be a great success to see Russia as a partner and ally in the inevitable confrontation with China. Repeat, if you want, in the opposite direction, the brilliant Nixon-Kissinger maneuver of the 1970s, when the United States made China its ally in confrontation with the USSR. Even more, such a turn of events would meet the interests of Russia. Without cooperation and an alliance with the United States, with the West as a whole, and even more so in confrontation with them, Russia is doomed to economic, demographic and, as a result, political takeover by China.
The main provisions of the “ Pompeo Doctrine” were first fully articulated in a document called The 2018 National Defense Strategy, signed by then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. Realism squared – that’s how I would describe this doctrine, which is reflected in a number of subsequent documents and decisions in the field of military planning: realism in relation to the intentions of its two opponents, as well as realism in relation to the capabilities of the United States itself. Disappeared from doctrinal documents ” reset with Vladimir ”, G2 with China, joint fight against global warming and international terrorism. There remained two revisionist powers, the “revisionist powers”, each, each in its own way, planning to organize the largest geopolitical catastrophe of the 21st century, the West’s withdrawal from world history.
The United States today is in many ways superior to its rivals, but does not have such an overwhelming military advantage over them as in the 1990s. In these circumstances, Washington cannot afford to be involved by large forces in secondary regional conflicts in the Middle East. US political alliances in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region and their military planning should focus on deterring the two challenging rivals. The US goal is not confrontation with two nuclear powers for the sake of confrontation, but denial defense (a key term in the Pompeo doctrine). It means the possession of the United States and its allies by a set of tools and instruments sufficient to prevent China from carrying out an operation to seize Taiwan and not allow Russia to capture one of the Baltic states or part of it.
Let us consider in more detail how the Pompeo doctrine is substantively implemented in the Russian direction. First of all, this is of interest to us all. And secondly, China is a long game, and the nuclear ” Patrushev doctrine” required an immediate conceptual response. And he followed.
The ” Narva Paradox”, Putin’s ability to put the whole West before an unimaginable choice – humiliating surrender and withdrawal from world history or a nuclear war with a person in a different reality – has been discussed and is being discussed in many world brain centers. As former US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told Bob Woodward in a confidential interview, he began to see Moscow as an existential threat to the United States after some Russians personally warned them that they would be ready to use nuclear weapons in the event of a military conflict with NATO in the Baltic states: “ Do not think that we put an end to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania after NATO sent a handful of its soldiers there. ”
Russians call this method of warfare ” de-escalation through nuclear escalation.” The Kremlin and the Frunzenskaya Embankment calculated that Russia should draw the North Atlantic bloc into a large-scale military clash in which it relies on its conventional superiority with its aggression against one of the NATO states in the Baltic states. And then, sharply raising rates to the nuclear level, peacefully calling on the enemy to ceasefire and surrender. And the Kremlin does not hide this plan. Nuclear blackmail is an essential part of the hybrid world war that Russians declared to the West.
In the field of nuclear weapons, despite all its magnificent cartoons, Russia does not have superiority over the United States. Just like the United States does not have superiority over Russia. Both of these countries can destroy each other. In this area, nothing has changed fundamentally over the past half century. There is only one advantage for our rulers, but a decisive one: their willingness to risk millions of lives of their own and foreign citizens. Despite the tough declarations of NATO summits and the deployment of four NATO battalions in the Baltic states and Poland, Putin is firmly convinced that the well-fed hedonistic decadent West is not ready to die for conditional Narva. The collective Putin, in his various roles at different venues, frankly declared to the West, in fact, the following: “I am going to win your hybrid war and put you on your knees, because I have one decisive advantage over you. Attacking you, I am ready to use nuclear weapons, but you are not for your protection. Therefore, you will step back and surrender. ”
Many in the West, even hearing, continued and continue to lull themselves. Or maybe this is just the rhetoric of a resentful neurotic, which must be understood by reasonable concessions due to the sovereignty of its neighbors to engage in a constructive discussion of really important human security issues, such as global warming? So the West is more convenient, because otherwise it will have to draw very serious and unpleasant conclusions.
The Pentagon carefully analyzed Putin’s threat. The findings were presented in April 2018 in a report by security expert Matthew Croning, a former senior official of the CIA and the U.S. Department of Defense. He considers the same classic scenario that Putin openly threatens the West. So, faced with the conventional superiority of NATO’s collective defense, Moscow is delivering a limited nuclear strike. NATO has four possible answers: surrender; continuation of the war exclusively by conventional means; retaliatory limited nuclear strike; full-scale nuclear war. Croning recommends fixing option number 3 as a provision of NATO’s official military doctrine. The logic of this choice is
These were the conceptual recommendations of 2018. And here is the material invoice of February 2020: a new type of nuclear weapon, a W-76-2 small warhead ( less than 10 kilotons) for Trident II missiles , was created and began to be put into service in the USA . The Pentagon has just confirmed the deployment of new nuclear warheads in submarines that go on patrol. The Pompeo Doctrine versus the Patrushev Doctrine.
A nuclear strategy is always a psychological duel. Putin is confident that the United States will quiver and retreat in a regional conflict in the Baltic states when he threatens them with tactical nuclear weapons or uses them. On this and only on this certainty rests his entire plan of revenge for the defeat of the USSR in the Cold War. This is evidenced by all his politics, all his behavior, all the dramatic evidence of insiders who have rare access to the gaping heights of power. Until recently, the same confidence was shared by a close circle of dollar billionaires, who constitute the political bureau of the Russian kleptocracy. And they were quite positive about Putin’s Victory Plan.
Indeed, life was a success, so why not yet become rulers of the world? The Pompeo Doctrine and the deployment of new low-power nuclear warheads leave, however, no doubt that the United States will certainly respond if the Russians actually use tactical nuclear weapons. The United States now has a wider choice of response to the Kremlin’s nuclear escalation than just surrender or mutually assured destruction. This psychological mechanism is called nuclear deterrence. Nuclear weapons ( including the new American warheads W-76−2) do not exist in order to use it, but to kindly convince an opponent to refrain from using it.
Putin and Patrushev were absolutely convinced themselves and convinced the entire ruling elite that they had a unique opportunity to violate this principle, turn world history with a throw of dice and take revenge for the defeat of the USSR. The chance to humiliate and trample the West in one clash of wills, showing his confusion, indecision and helplessness, despite all his colossal economic and serious military superiority, promised dizzying geopolitical dividends, but the West had the last regiment in reserve, the American deep state.
The strategic situation in the Russia-USA pair has changed dramatically. The political will of one of the parties changed, which recognized the existential threat and articulated its answer very clearly ( conceptually and then in metal). As Song Tzu taught, without drawing a sword. And judging by the slurred fuss that has been going on in recent weeks in the Kremlin, the Supreme Ruler and his entourage apparently realized that they had lost.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Liberty / Radio Free Europe, 2101 Connecticut Avenue, Washington 20 036, USA